Lisbon Sightseeing – Rooftops and ocean views
Lisbon Sightseeing – what’s that like? I just can’t help myself. As soon as I’m in a new city, I have to compare it to a city I already know. For example, to me Vienna is a mix between Munich and Berlin. And London is Berlin and Vienna and Munich. But Lisbon? Lisbon is a bit of everything and still different. The yellow tram and the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge remind me of San Francisco, the market halls remind me of Madrid, the graffiti of Berlin, the wrought iron balconies of Paris, and the colourful tiled facades on the houses are so typical of Lisbon! I don’t know how to describe this city, but it was love at first sight. Yes, Lisbon and I had an intense, exciting quickie. I spent just over 24 hours here, but it felt so familiar from the get go. Here’s my personal sightseeing tips for Lisbon, and believe me, there’s a lot you can see in a day!
The historical tram – an absolute must when sightseeing in Lisbon
LISBON SIGHTSEEING –MOURARIA QUARTER: STREETART
I start my Lisbon sightseeing tour at the Sofitel hotel, which is in a great central location. After a big breakfast I well ready to leave no stone unturned in Lisbon and start my first ascent up through the city. My first tip therefore: wear proper shoes. Most of the city’s roads are cobble stone roads, which gets very slippery when it rains, and it can get quite treacherous if you’re on heels! I walk from the Rossio Quarter down towards Mouraria to the fort complex “Castelo S. Jorge”. There’s an archway along the „Rua de Magdalena“, step through it and you’ll be in the heart of Lisbon’s street art quarter. Steps lead down through narrow alleys covered in artwork.
Head up the hill and keep an eye of the viewing platforms that grant a fantastic view over the city. On the way to Castelo S. Jorge you’ll pass numerous shops selling tiles as souvenirs. Not tourist rubbish. At the top you can decide if you want to enter the fort or not. I preferred to explore the winding paths and lanes that surround it and came across a small market. Next, I headed back down over the Casta do Castelo towards Largo Martim Moniz.
LISBON SIGHTSEEING –ALFAMA QUARTER: A TRAM RIDE UP TO THE VIEWING POINT
At Largo Martim Moniz you can hitch a ride on the world’s most famous streetcar. If you can, look out the exact fare of 2,85 Euro. A nostalgic train ride to Lisbon’s most stunning viewing point – in Alfama Quarter by Igreja Santa Luzia. Here you can take in the colourful houses, a terracotta sea of roofs and cruise ships crisscrossing the harbour below. Breathe in, breathe out, and rejoice that you get to see something so pretty. From here, walk down past the cathedral.
Are you hungry? Head to Cruzes Credo by the cathedral in the Cruzes da Sé. Reader Mandy recommended this place, and it was as amazing as she said it would be! Hummus to start, a glass of wine, a vegetarian chickpea burger and chocolate cake for dessert. Incredible. But the fish courses sounded great, too! Once you’re able to move, continue on to the “Trade Square”. You can get the Tram 15E to Belem from here.
LISBON SIGHTSEEING –BELEM QUARTER
The city’s best Pasteis de Nata and a maritime castle
It’s approximately a 15-minute ride to Belem. The stop is located just a few meters away Lisbon’s most famous shop – Pasteis de Belém. You can’t miss it, you’ll spot the long queue from a distance. This place sells the best Pasteis de Nata. Nope, it’s got nothing to do with ice cream, which is what I thought. Pasteis de Nata is a puff pastry pie filled with vanilla custard. The Portuguese like to have it for breakfast! Order a Roijo, then you’ll have tried Portugal’s most famous drink, too. Afterwards, head past the impressive Mosteiro dos Jerónimos to Padrão dos Descobrimentos and finally down to Lisbon’s most famous attraction – Torre de Belém. What an incredible sight, the castle just standing there in the sea. And behind it, the Ponte 25 de Abril, which reminds me of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
LISBON SIGHTSEEING –BAIRRO ALTO QUARTER: NARROW LANES FULL OF LIFE
Take the tram 15E back to the Rua do Alecrim. Walk up this road and you’ll be in the Bairro Alto. Make your way through the narrow lanes; admire the colourful house facades and all the laundry hanging between the houses. What do the people who own these clothes look like? You’ll come across old women taking out the rubbish in their dressing gowns. There are two historical trams up the hill, too. The viewing point at Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara is beautiful. Grab a Bock beer, find a bench, and relax.
At sunset, take the famous lift, the Elevador de Santa Justa, up and enjoy the view. Lisbon is incredible! Every alley is worth seeing and no one tile is the same!
LISBON SIGHSEEING – DINNER AT MERCADO DA RIBEIRA
Are you hungry after all that lisbon sightseeing? I betcha, it’s a pretty long walk! If you’re keen to keep your options open for dinner, head to the market hall. This is a large hall with plenty of seating in the centre, surrounded by loads of food stalls. Anything you could imagine eating – you name it! From sushi and oysters to burgers. I can highly recommend one dish, though: „Prego de Atum“. You might be a disappointed when they serve it – what, just dark bread with tuna? Yes, it’s an absolute explosion of tastes! Hours later you’ll think back to the soft fish melting on your tongue, leaving a salty aftertaste. The quality of fish and seafood is incredible. Fancy a beer? Or gin? Off to the Lounge Bar around the corner or get lost in the lanes of Bairro Alto. Absolutely jam packed on a Saturday night, full of joyous party goers.
I promise, after this lisbon sightseeing tour you’ll collapse into bed with a big grin on your face and I’m sure you’ll share my love for this city. I hope I could give you a few impressions of this great town. If you fancy a road trip along the coast, check out this blog post – “Portugal’s Top 5 Surfing Spots“. And I highly recommend this guidebook.
Check out my YouTube video of my top travel preparation tips:
Do you need more tips on Lisbon? Check out Laura’s post “Lisbon in a week – a relaxed city trip”: Lissabon in einer Woche – Städtetrip entspannt